By Tyrel "Rock" Wolf

CHAPTER 10 - Stormy Weather

* * * * * * *

Sarah watched on as the runners got ready for the 100-meter dash. She sat on the bank, feeling awkward and uncomfortable. There was no one around her that she really felt close to. Sure she was sitting with friends, but none of them her real friends. Mike and Lucas were both on Camp. And Marcel and Storm were both down on the field preparing to run. Still though, it was Wednesday and Mike would be back in two days. She definitely liked hanging with the boys more than the girls.

Sarah leaned back against the bank and waited for the race to start. It was a brilliantly warm day, perfect for sitting outside and watching some babes sweat. Stacey Peters and Claire Carlyle flanked her on either side. Neither of whom she had a particular affinity to but she didn't have much choice today. Sarah ran her hands through the blades of grass, bored and lonely.

"You know. I used to think that Storm was cool. But he is such a loser." Stacey snickered.

"Is that right geek girl?" Claire retorted. "Why don't you just shut up Stacey. If you haven't got anything good to say, just shut your mouth."

Stacey glared at Claire "Aren't we touchy. What do you care? You want Lucas not Storm."

"Stacey, shut your fucking mouth before I beat the shit out of your back stabbing ass."

"Who are you, the Storm protection club? He needs protection these days, he's so pathetic. Couldn't even stand up to Brad. Isn't Storm supposed to be some kind of tough guy? Now Marcel, he's a real man."

Sarah glared at Stacey menacingly "Stacey. I can make your life hell. Do you want that?"

"What do you think?"

"Then shut your fucking mouth, before I tell everyone what a slut you really are."

"Geez, what is up with you two?"

"You're the loser." Sarah and Claire said both getting up and leaving Stacey behind.

"Sensitive aren't we." Stacey said sarcastically.

Sarah and Claire both walked away and moved down closer to the track. She spotted Storms Mom standing with a bunch of other parents and they walked over to her. Mrs. Marcus waved to Sarah and Sarah waved back smiling. Sarah kissed Mrs. Marcus on the cheek unabashedly.

"Hey Mrs. M." Sarah smiled. "You here to watch the boys?"

"Sure am. I think it's just about time for the 100-meter sprint." Mrs. Marcus replied.

"Yeah, should be any minute now. Mrs. M, this is Claire. Claire, this is Storms Mom, Mrs. Marcus." Sarah said introducing the two.

"Hi Mrs. Marcus." Claire smiled warmly.

"Hi Claire. How are you today?" Mrs. Marcus asked.

"I'm great thanks. By the way, your son is a babe. Total babe."

Mrs. Marcus blushed proudly "Thank you Claire. I'm sure Storm would be flattered. I know I am, I made him after all."

Sarah and Claire both laughed at Mrs. Marcus comment. Mrs. Marcus was very easy to get along with and she was definitely one of the more popular parents in the school. Always turning up at these kinds of events.

"Ok here they go, its just about time." Sarah said.

Sarah put her sunglasses on and looked down towards the start line. She could see Storm and Marcel there getting ready to start along with representatives from numerous other schools. She breathed nervously, waiting for the race to start.

Marcel stepped onto the track, confident as ever. He wanted to win and he knew he would. He looked up his competition, he, Storm and Cody the only Merlow representatives in this event. He smiled at Storm and Storm feigned a little smile. As much as Marcel loved winning, he didn't really like doing it if it meant he had to beat his friends. Marcel readied himself, as did the rest of the runners. He breathed in deeply, wiping the sweat off his brow. Time seemed to go into slow motion, the call from the announcer seemingly an eternity away.

"On your marks. Set...GO!!"

Marcel shot off the mark right on time. His body in perfect sync with his mind. His arms and legs powering forward in perfect motion. He had already taken the lead, he didn't even have to look either side to know he was winning. Sensing a challenge to his lead, he let loose all he had and sped ahead of the pack. Leaving all the competition in the dust.

"WOO HOO MARCEL!" Sarah yelled clapping.

Marcel managed to throw a wink and a smile to the cheering Merlow contingent as he stepped over the finish line. Marcel did his traditional wave to the crowd, strip off the shirt pose for the crowd.

"Great win Babe." Sarah said walking up behind Marcel. "I’d give you a hug but you’re all sweaty and smelly."

"That’s cool Sarah. Thanks for the support."

"It wasn’t just for you. It was for you and Storm. And that Cody fella you’re so fond of these days. I knew you were going to win because you are the best. No use trying to hide that fact."

"It’s scary when you compliment me Sarah. You feeling ok?"

"Oh shut the fuck up. Don’t go there with that I don’t support you shit unless you want me to open up a can of whoop ass on ya. And don’t knock me, you know how much I love Stone Cold."

"Ok ok. Come on, don’t I get at least ONE hug? Pretty please?"

"Ok then you big woman you." Sarah said as she wrapped her arms around Marcels neck and stepped closer to hug him.

Marcel grabbed her close and hugged her, Sarah patting him on the back. "Thanks Mate."

"Have you spoken to Storm?"

"No I haven’t. Maybe he’s just gone to see the timekeeper."

"I can’t see him." Sarah said looking around. "You know Mrs. M is here."

"Where is she?" Marcel asked anxiously.

"Uhh over there." Sarah said pointing to an area in the crowd. "You better hurry if you want to catch her because she has to go back to work soon."

"I’ll go over now." Marcel said turning to head over.

"Marcel!!" Stacey yelled running after Marcel. "You were GREAT!!" She said kissing Marcel on the cheek and hugging him.

Marcel looked over at Sarah rolling his eyes as Stacey mauled him with her wandering hands. "Uhh thanks Stacey."

"Stacey stop drooling." Claire said stepping next to Sarah.

Stacey hung off Marcel like some awe struck fan. She glared at Claire and Claire winked back at her. No love lost between these two. "I have to go. I’ll see you later."

"Oh ok. Is that a promise stud?" Stacey said.

"Uuuh I guess. Bye." Marcel said waving to Sarah and heading off to talk to Mrs. Marcus.

"Poor Marcel. He’s going to have to buy some bug repellent." Claire whispered to Sarah.

Sarah tried to stifle the unexpected laugh that Claire’s comment had conjured. Sarah was beginning to like Claire the more and more time they spent together. "Let’s go before she stops drooling and tries to tag along." Sarah whispered.

Claire and Sarah once again left Stacey by herself, Stacey oblivious to their absence. Her concentration focused on Marcel’s figure as it walked away. The sweat glistening off his skin in the glaring sun. She watched on as his back and shoulders muscles flexed. A show just for her she thought. One day Marcel would be hers, she knew it. Little did she know, she wasn’t the only person admiring the show.

Sarah and Claire mingled through the supporters, none of them really knowing anyone. There was a fairly big Merlow support crowd here for the big meet, mostly people who wanted to skip school to be here. But apart from them Sarah and Claire knew few people here since they were all from other schools. They walked through the crowd and made their way towards the refreshment area where all the food and drinks were for sale. "What do you want Sarah? I’m paying."

"Uhh NO. I can pay for myself. In fact I’m going to pay for you so what do YOU want?"

"Oh. Ahh well I’ll just have a chicken salad sandwich please. And a Bottled Water."

"You been hanging out with Storm? Those are his absolute favs."

"Really? You know a lot about him."

"Him and I grew up together. In fact until a few months before you got here me and him were going out. He was my childhood sweetheart since pre-school."

"Really? Wow, I just thought you were good friends. So what’s he really like?"

"The sweetest guy you’ll meet. It’s weird thinking about him in that way because it’s been so long. I miss that he and I aren’t as close anymore. We’ve been drifting apart lately." Sarah sighed. "You should get to know him. He’s a great guy to have as a friend."

"What about if I want more than that…"

"I won’t lie. You don’t have a chance. He’s sorta taken. Not going out with anyone right now but…he’s taken. Good luck though. I thought you liked Lucas?"

"I do. I like him a lot. Damn that guy is so sweet. And have you seen his eyes? And those lips. And that body." Claire said trying to cool herself down. "But Lucas won’t budge. He said girls are a drag and he just wants to hang with his friends. But he wants to be friends with me so I’m happy. He is such a nice guy."

"Yup." Sarah said paying the attendant and taking their food.

"So that’s why I’m keeping my options open. And I tell ya Storm. Oh boy. He’s sorta the opposite to Lucas though. Lucas is nice and sweet and friendly. Storm is cool and sorta introverted I noticed too. He seems pretty popular as well. But he doesn’t seem to give a damn if people like him and I like that. And he’s got a killer smile. And a great kisser. I KISSED HIM!!! I’ve kissed him before!! Calm down Claire. And I’ve run my fingers up and down his chest and those abs and let me tell you girly that is one fucking fine bod." Claire said getting a little excited.

"I know. I’ve tried it too." Sarah said smiling.

They sat down at a table and started to eat their lunch. Sarah had bought herself a Chicken sandwich and a bottled water just like Claire. Claire was about to take a bite out of her sandwich when she suddenly realized something. "Do you know, all of your guy friends are like total babes? I mean there’s Marcel, Storm, Lucas and Mike. I’d take anyone of those guys. You’re so lucky you’ve got an inside advantage."

"Yeah I know. And they all know it too. Lucas is the only really modest one but as you know he’s one of the more sexier ones. Mike is pretty laid back about looks but you’ve seen his body so you know I aint missing nothing." Sarah smiled. "Marcel, now he is one cocky shit. He’s great looking and he knows it. As for Storm. He’s like Mike. He doesn’t focus on looks but he still likes to look good. Or maybe it’s just natural. I dunno. But definitely yes, they are all babes."

"So Sarah…who’s this person that Storm is sorta taken by? Anyone I know?"

Sarah wondered how the hell she’d get out of this one. It wasn’t exactly her place to spill about Lucas and Storm being together. Even though they weren’t actually going out right now. Sarah still believed they’d get back together. But how does she handle Claire. A question in response to a question! "Why do you want to know? Do you want Storm?"

"Yeah. I wouldn’t mind trying. Even just a date. Me and him had a bit of a bumpy start when we first met but I think we’ve sorted everything out since then."

"There isn’t anyone else you like? Apart from Storm?"

"Well Lucas first. But he’s not an option. Storm is my best choice right now. He and Lucas are sorta even. I don’t like Marcel that way. His Cody friend is ok."

"What about Brad?" Sarah teased.

"You mean Brad the Beast? Puh lease. That guy is just ugh yuck. He is such a creep."

"Oh well. I hate myself for saying this. But you have till Friday to ask Storm out on a date. I’m telling you he will say no. But any chance you have at all will be between now and Friday. Because his other half will claim him back I bet this weekend."

"Thanks Sarah."

"Don’t thank me. Storm is going to kill me."

"Did you and Storm used to do Karate together as well? I noticed when I was at your house that you had some old trophies and medals. Is that why you’re such a tough chick?"

"Maybe. I used to take Karate with Storm but my parents pulled me out. Said it would only feed my violent tendencies." Sarah said laughing. "I had two big brothers that needed constant ass kicking. But they’ve all moved out of home now. I’ve been thinking about taking it back up. In fact I might have a talk to Storm about it later on."

"I would love to do that. Maybe Storm could teach us?"

"Well…he could. If you ask him nicely he might. He might get in trouble for it from his sensei though. I’m not sure if he’s at the level where he’s allowed to do that. He could definitely teach you a few things. If you’re serious you could join his dojo."

"Karate. Are you going to take it back up for sure?"

"Yeah. I think I will."

"Mind if I join up with you?"

"Sure! That would be great. Ok well I’ll go down to the Dojo after we get back to Merlow. You wanna come with me then?"

"Definitely. I’m in."


"This way I can get closer to Storm." Claire smiled.

"I hope that’s not the only reason."

"I think it would be good for me. Self Defense is something you need today. So it’ll be good."

"That’s good."

Sarah and Claire sat there eating their lunch. Chit chatting about school, boys and the like. The more they talked, the more they got along better. Sarah still had a bit of adjusting to do to get used to being around girls so much. She was so used to the guys, she liked them better. But Claire seemed a bit more bearable than most of the ditzy girls Merlow had to offer.

* * * * * * *

I stepped up to the mark on my spot of the field. I was third runner before Marcel in the 4 * 100m relay. I felt pretty pleased with myself for taking out the second place in the 100 meter sprints. Beating Cody out even. I waited nervously for the signal to go off signaling that the race had begun. Carl Bentley was our first runner, followed by Cody then me and then Marcel to seal our victory. There was no way in hell anyone was going to beat Marcel unless we screwed up.

BANG! The race had begun. I watched as Carl shot off the mark, steadily keeping up with his opponents. I readied myself in position for when the baton would be handed over to me. I watched as Cody began his advance and when the baton was in his hand he let loose and attempted to make some ground for us. Unfortunately he wasn’t doing a good job of it. I focused my attention on the track, zoning out the noise of the crowd and any other distraction. As Cody made his approach I began making the first few steps forward. When I felt the baton touch my hand I clasped it tightly and drove myself forward. Using the baton as if it were some kind of super charging battery I powered myself forward. Driving my arms and legs in a seamless motion towards Marcel. I could sense that I was not in the lead and pulled out every last ounce of fire I had in me to gain that little advantage that could get us the victory. As Marcel took the baton instinctively he fixed his body into his trademark Marcel speed demon sprint and shot away. I slowed myself to a jog and bent over panting as I saw Marcel cross the finish line just in front of the nearest competition. That was too close, but we still won it.

I walked over to where Cody and Carl were already sitting on the grass. I dragged myself next to them and flopped to the ground in a heap. "We won." I gasped.

"Yeah. I’m not surprised. Marcel won it for us. The three of us just held it together." Cody said exhausted.

Carl sat himself up and wiped the sweat off his brow. "Maybe we can clone him for next years meet. He gets all the glory anyway. Look at those Babes drooling over him. Why can’t we have some of those."

"Because we suck. Cody you sucked the most though. I had to carry your fucking ass and make up for the ground you couldn’t hold. So don’t give me any of that ‘held it together’ bullshit. Were you daydreaming or something?" I said turning over and lying on my back.

"Fuck you Storm."

"No thanks, not right now. Slow shit."

"Fucking idiot. You’re such a loser Storm."

"Is that right? How’s your blow up doll these days?"

"What’s with you two?" Carl asked anxiously.

"Hey guys what’s going on?" Marcel asked sitting down next to us.

"Nothing. I was just leaving." I said getting up and walking off.

"Yeah fuck off." Cody yelled after me.

Ok. That’s it. I turned around and walked back. I yanked Cody to his feet and got right in his face. "Do you have a fucking problem?"

"No man, sorry. Just lemme go. I’m sorry."

"Storm let him go." I heard Marcel say behind me.

I let Cody go and turned around slowly. "Or what?" I said glaring at Marcel.

"You know what."

"Really? Well you look after your little friend here. I don’t want to aggravate you any further so I’ll leave you to it." I said storming off.

I walked all the way off the field and towards the changing rooms allotted for Merlow. I got to the changing rooms and pulled my bag out and threw it against the wall in rage. I started kicking the wall and slamming it in an effort to let all my rage out. I packed up my bag and walked out, heading to nowhere certain.

"What the fuck is your problem Storm?" Marcel said standing in front of me.

"What the hell do you care? Oh that’s right. You want to kick my ass, don’t you?" I said trying to move past him, but he wouldn’t budge.

Marcel mustn’t have liked that because he slammed me up against the wall and pinned me there. I looked him straight in the eyes, his were filled with anger. I’d never seen Marcel like this before, did he hate me this much now? "Do it then! Go on. Hit me. Finish me off. I know you’ve wanted to for five years, here’s your chance. Hit me Marcel." I yelled taunting him.

"Fuck you." Marcel scowled letting me go and walking off.

I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I picked my bag up and staggered towards the bench. I sat down on it shivering and shaking in shock. I took a few deep breaths to try and steady myself.

"I haven’t finished with you yet." Marcel said storming back in.

I picked up my bag and tried to walk out the door but Marcel slammed it shut and grabbed me again. I looked at him and gulped in fear. I knew I was shaking but I was trying to hide it. I was scared because I’d never seen Marcel this mad before. I was too paralyzed to say anything. I was just going to let him beat the shit out of me and be done with it. I was getting good at taking beat downs, why stop now?

"Fuck you Storm."

"Shut up! I hate you!"

"Fuck you!"

"Just fucking kick my ass already."



"WHY?" Marcel screamed in rage, as he punched a hole in the wall next to me. "Why do you hate me?? What did I do??"

"You changed. You left me hanging and you humiliated me. I…hate…you. So go on, say it again."

"I can’t believe you hate me."

"It doesn’t help when you go slamming me around like some tackle bag. Let’s just stay out of each other’s way. Make the world a better place."

Marcel let me go and sat down on the bench, his face confused and angry. "Things have changed. But I never thought you could ever hate me."

"Next time you push me. I’m gonna push you back." I said opening the door. "Until then, let’s just stay out of each others way."

"Don’t you dare leave. Shut the damn door and sit down next to me." Marcel said forcefully.

"Fuck you."

* * * * * * *

"Is everything cool Marcel?" Cody yelled running after Marcel.

"Fuck Off."

"Ok. Ok man. I’ll just let you chill ok. We’ll talk later. Don’t worry about Storm though, he’s a fuck up. He gets what he deserves."

Marcel turned on the spot and grabbed Cody by the collar. "I don’t know what your problem is with Storm but next time you two get into something I’m going to let him finish you off. Do you understand me? You can fight your own fights."

"Ok man. I wasn’t worried about him anyway he’s nothing. I can take him out, did it once I can do it again."

"What are you talking about? Did it once? Storm would wipe the floor with you. You couldn’t kick shit if it landed at your feet."

"Yeah well he didn’t wipe the floor with me last Friday. We kicked his ass good and proper. You should have given him another ass kicking."

Marcel got a confused look on his face, not knowing what Cody was talking about. He didn’t have a clue what Cody was getting at, Marcel just thought Cody was telling bullshit. "I don’t have time for your bullshit. Now fuck off and leave me alone."

"Whatever man. I’m telling you, Storm is a pussy shit. I’m so glad you don’t hang out with that loser anymore."

"Yeah, instead I get to hang out with losers like you huh? Now which part of fuck off didn’t you understand." Marcel said walking away.

"I’ll talk to you later man!" Cody yelled from behind.

Marcel walked to the refreshment area to buy himself a drink. The day was hot and sweat glistened off Marcels brow. Thank goodness he had finished all his events for the day. He was still infuriated with Storm, he found him so aggravating sometimes. But Marcel still couldn’t believe Storm hated him, what had he done to make Storm hate him? "Evian please." Marcel said to the attendant, handing over some money.

Marcel drunk down a massive gulp, polishing off half the bottle in one long guzzle. He wiped the sweat off his brow and put the cold bottle to his face to try and cool himself down. "What a day." Marcel mumbled to himself.

"I’d say it was pretty good."

"Huh? Who are you?" Marcel said looking at the person who stood before him. A guy who looked to be about the same age as Marcel if not perhaps slightly older. Just a bit shorter than Marcel, with a tanned olive complexion, Brown hair and big brown eyes. Definitely an athletic build. Obviously a track runner from another school.

"My name’s Jacob. I ran against you today. You’re really good." Jacob said.


Jacob smiled at Marcel. "So you’re from Merlow huh. Aren’t you guys ever going to let another school win? I mean we nearly beat you in the 4*100 but you really kicked butt in the singles. You plan on working towards the district champs? I’m pretty sure you’d take it out no sweat. Maybe you could even go onto the nationals with your times."

Marcel smiled proudly, compliments are the food of the ego. And Marcel loved feeding it. Marcel knew how good he was but it was always a buzz having someone else tell you how good you are. Marcel tried to not look so pleased with himself and play it down but he wasn’t being very successful. "Thanks again. But don’t compliment me too much I might get a bigger ego than the one I already have. Yeah I’ve thought about that. I’m not sure yet whether this is something I want to pursue that far. I’ve been thinking about becoming a tri-athlete because I find that a lot of fun. I’m pretty good at swimming, running and cycling so I might take that up. I don’t get too far ahead of myself, I’m not sure I’m THAT good yet."

"You know what they say? Modesty is for people who have nothing to brag about. And you my friend have plenty to brag about."

Marcel blushed, he had no idea why this total stranger had just decided to come and boost his ego. "So is there a reason for this compliment overflow?"

"I’m just telling it like it is. I think you’re pretty awesome. You’re pretty cute too."

Aye? What was going on here? Marcel nearly choked on his water when Jacob said that. He was used to that from girls but not from the guys. "Umm thanks. Uhhh are you hitting on me?" Marcel replied nervously.

"That depends, would it bother you if I was?"

"Not really."

"Then I am. You won’t get anywhere not trying."

"I’ve never been hit on by a guy before. Girls yeah but guys no. This is weird."

"You know some people don’t believe in that whole…" Jacob leant in to Marcels ear and whispered. " gaydar thing. And to tell you the truth, neither do I. But I wanted to at least give it a try. And come on, admit it. If you were me, you’d want to try right?"

Marcel blushed even more, this guy was hitting all the right buttons. "I’m still trying to absorb all of this. You’re hitting on me. You’re a guy. And you’re hitting on me. And you’re a babe, and you’re hitting all the right buttons. Hmm, must be Christmas or something." Marcel felt himself get overwhelmed with butterflies, he’d never had this feeling before. It was all so new to him. "Ok. You wanna go out on a date?"

"Hell yeah. Tonight too soon?"

"Hell no." Marcel smiled back. "So where are we gonna go?"

"Uhh well…there’s this great rage they’re having down at the bowl tonight. We could go there. Or we could go to the movies or something. I don’t really mind where we go."

"This is weird. This is too weird. Are you catching your guys bus back to your school? Or have you got a car?"

"Well I wish I could say I have a car but I don’t. So yeah, it’s the bus." Jacob said raising his eyebrows in mock shame.

"I have an idea but we just met so I’ll understand if you don’t want to. But you could come back with me to my place and we could hang out there for a bit. I mean we’ve both finished here for the day, nothing keeping us here."

"Sounds cool to me. I’ve actually been to your house before but I don’t think you’ll remember. A party a few months ago. My sister invited me. We didn’t spend much time together though because she was off getting herself some babes. So I ended up going home pretty early."

"Oh, that’s cool. I’m sorry I don’t remember seeing you."

"That’s ok, it was a pretty packed house. You sure know how to throw a party."

"Thanks. I wanted to…" Marcel began saying but he was interrupted.

"Hey what are you two talking about?" Claire asked walking up to Marcel and Jacob. "Hey Bro." She said kissing Jacob on the cheek. "Hey Marcel."

Marcel stared at Claire, wide eyed and in shock. He just looked at Claire, gulping. "Holy shit." Marcel gasped. "You two are brother and sister?"

"Yeah, twins. Not identical though. Our parents split up and Claire went with Dad to live in Merlow but I stayed behind to look after Mom. That’s why I don’t go to your school."

"Uuuhh I have to go." Marcel said in a panic. "Sarah!! Sarah wait!!" Marcel yelled running after Sarah.

"What’s his hurry?" Claire said confused, watching Marcel run off. "Oh my god…you were hitting on him. And he…no not Marcel. Oh my god."

"Uh oh. This isn’t good." Jacob said in worry.

"Oh…my…god." Was all Claire could say. "I never would have guessed."

"Be cool sis." Jacob said blankly watching Marcel disappear from sight.

"Don’t worry. I’m not going to do anything to hurt him. I’m just surprised. That guy is like a chick magnet. Who would have guessed?"

"Not you obviously."

"I wonder if Sarah knows? I’ll go talk to him later. Last thing I want is for him to start freaking out. Have I ruined your chances Bro?"

"Wouldn’t surprise me."

"We’ll see."


* * * * * * *

Mike and Lucas both lay back on their beds talking. They were tired after a long day of drills and exercises. It was Wednesday today and there was only one more full day before they went back to Merlow on Friday morning.

Lucas was worried about Storm. Something didn't feel right. Lucas remembered his conversation with Josh and wondered if Mike knew anything about it. "You know Josh was saying something before about Storm being beaten up. You know what's he talking about Mike?"

"uhh no man. Don't know anything." Mike tried to say passively

Lucas looked at Mike, knowing something was up straightaway "Ok tell me what happened?"

"Nothing Lucas. Just go to sleep."

Lucas became worried and his mind flashed back to the last time he saw Storm "That's it. I thought he was sick. But it wasn't that was it. What happened Mike?"

"Leave it alone, Lucas."

"Mike. You have to tell me, what happened to Storm?"

"You don't need to know. He wouldn't want you to know."

"Mike, Storm may have dumped me but I sure as hell didn't dump him. I still love him, I can't change that. Now something is going on here. I want to know what? You have to tell me. Please Mike. You know how much I love him."

"Ok. Ok. Last Friday, when Storm walked off. Well I thought you, Storm and Marcel were all together because you weren't in class. But you weren't, Storm was by himself. And while he was by himself, he got jumped. He got the shit kicked out of him Lucas. I've never seen him so fucked up before."

"What?" Lucas gasped unbelievingly. "But I saw him, I stayed there on Friday night. When I woke up in the morning he was...oh shit. I thought he was just under the weather. Why didn't he say anything to me?"

"Too proud. I only found out because I was there when he stumbled in. He was beaten, shaking. They worked him over good and proper. But he doesn't know, or he's not telling who did it. Apparently, they jumped him from behind."

"I can't believe it. It's no wonder he was a wreck. My poor baby. What's he going through? I can't believe it, I should have been there for him. He's been going through hell. Oh man, I feel so bad. My poor baby. I should have been there for him. This is all my fault." Lucas said distraught.

"He'll be ok. He's strong."

"I have to go. I have to go to him right now. I have to leave. He needs me." Lucas said anxiously. He started to shake and brushed his hand through his hair to try and calm himself. Lucas took a few deep breaths, closing his eyes and trying not to kick himself for missing that Storm was hurt.

"Lucas, let go. He will deal with this himself."

"This is my fault. This is all my fault. If I hadn't gotten him angry, he wouldn't have left. Then he'd be ok now. And we'd be together and he wouldn't have had to go through that. Oh man, what have I done?"

"Blaming yourself, won't change what happened. I want to be there as much as you, but we're here. There's nothing we can do. I'm sure he's just fine..."

"Mike. I want to go back now. I want to be with him. Please Mike, will you help me go back to him?" Lucas pleaded.

"No." Mike said firmly. "You're staying right here. Storm can handle himself. He's not weak you know, just really stupid sometimes."

"I have to be with him Mike. I can't handle it anymore. I have to be with him now." Lucas pleaded. Lucas heart was tearing him up inside. He wanted to be with Storm more than anything right now. Before, Lucas was angry at Storm for giving up so easy. Now Lucas just wanted to put that all aside and just be with Storm. He knew Storm loved him, but Storm just wasn't handling everything. Lucas became very distraught and he started weeping gently with his face in his hands.

Mike got up and sat next to Lucas, putting his arm around him. "Buddy. You can't do anything right now. There's nothing you can do. You have to let go."

"I can't let go Mike. I don't want to. And I just can't. I know he needs me, I can feel it." Lucas said filled with distress. "Mike. I need to be with him now. I can't bear this anymore. I'm going. I'm going back right now. Even if I have to walk or get kicked off the team." Lucas said defiantly.

"Lucas, get a grip! I know you're worried about Storm, but he'll be ok. He'll be ok."

"NO! I'm going." Lucas said standing up and grabbing his bag.

Mike stood up, blocking Lucas' way. Mike put his hands on Lucas shoulder to try and calm him down. "Lucas. Calm down. You're being ridiculous. You can't go anywhere."

Lucas pushed Mike out of his way and headed for the door. Mike grabbed Lucas from behind and flipped him around, he pushed him up against the door and put his forearm against Lucas throat. "YOU'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!!" Mike shouted forcefully.

Lucas looked at Mike in shock, his eyes filled with hurt and sadness. Mike stared down Lucas determined and steadfast. Lucas' spirit fell to the very pit of his being. And he gave up. "Fine."

Mike released his grip on Lucas and looked at Lucas regretful of his harsh use of force. Lucas threw his bag down angrily sat back down on his bunk, not saying anything to Mike. He pulled off his shirt and got himself ready for bed. Mike sat down on his own bunk, hoping for Lucas to say something. Mike felt bad for being so rough with Lucas. "Lucas, I'm sorry."

"Shut up. Leave me alone. I don't want to talk to you." Lucas said turning himself over and away from Mike.

"Come on, Lucas. I thought it was the only way to make you stay."

Lucas sat back up, he was angry and infuriated. "Do I have a sign on my head that says push Lucas around? Do I? You, Storm and Marcel all seem to be able to see it. I'm sick of people pushing me around. I thought you were different. I'm not some piece of shit everyone can push around." Lucas said pulling the covers over him and turning away from Mike again. "I don't ever want to talk to you again Mike. We're not friends anymore. I let too many people push me around already, I don't have to put up with it from you too."

Mike sat there agape at how things were turning out. He couldn't believe it was happening. "Lucas, you can't mean that."

"I mean it. I'm not talking to you again Mike. So don't even bother. I'm sick of everyone. Just leave me alone."

Mike didn't know what to say, he was in too much shock. He didn't know what he could say to make Lucas feel better. But he knew Lucas was sure of himself. Mike lay back on his bed and hoped Lucas would feel better in the morning. Mike switched off the light and lay there thinking in the dark. "Please forgive me. You're my best friend. I love you and I'm sorry." Mike said hoping for a reaction. It didn't come.

Mike got out of bed and ran to Lucas' side, sitting himself down on the floor next to Lucas bed. Lucas eyes were open and he watched Mike, not saying anything. "I'm going to sit here all night until you forgive me."

"Shoulda brought your blanket. It'll be cold down there." Lucas replied harshly.

Mike began crying as he sat. He didn't move but sat there sobbing profusely. He kept wiping his eyes with his arms and hands. Lucas jumped out of bed and sat on the cold floor next to Mike. Lucas put his arm around Mike and rubbed it soothingly. "It's ok, It's ok. I forgive you. Don't cry."

Mike stopped crying and raised his head, grinning wildly at Lucas. Lucas knew he had just been duped by Mike. Lucas punched Mike in the arm hard and Mike reeled back in pain, rolling on the floor. "Ow you fucker. You just forgave me and you hit me, I think we're even aren't we Lucas." Mike said smiling and laughing.

"You prick Mike. You tricked me."

Mike sat back up and wrapped his arms around Lucas' arms and body, trapping him. He leaned his head into Lucas' side, shaking Lucas. "Ahh but you forgive me!"

Lucas couldn't help smiling, Mike knew how to push all the right buttons. "I forgive you, just don't do it again."

Mike loosened his grip a little and rested his head on Lucas' shoulder. "I promise I won't ever hurt you again. I must be getting soft hanging around with all you guy lovers."

"No, you were already a big softie when I first met you. You just did a better job of hiding it. I wouldn't hang out with you if you weren't."

Lucas looked at Mike, both smiling in the dark. Mikes chin rested on Lucas' shoulder, inches from Lucas' own in the dark. Lucas was starting to feel uncomfortable with the way Mike was holding him, it was almost as if Lucas were sitting in Mike's lap. Mikes arms still wrapped around Lucas, Mike's left hand resting teasingly on Lucas' abs. And the right hand holding Lucas' lower back. Mikes legs under Lucas' own as they sat in the dark, their bare feet touching tentatively.

Mike marveled at how the moonlight shone off Lucas' face, a beauty that Mike hadn't noticed before. The Moon exposing Lucas' chest, revealing his smooth skin and build. Mike put his hand up to Lucas' face and brushed his fingers down it slowly. Lucas gulped and said nothing, unsure of how to react.

"I've never noticed how beautiful you are Lucas. You have such beautiful skin." Mike said unabashedly.

"Mike, what are you doing?" Lucas asked nervously.

Mike leaned forward, his lips barely touching Lucas's. "I'm trying to seduce you."


"Because I want to know what it's like to be with a guy. Just once. And I can't think of anyone else I'd rather find out with. Please."

"I...I can't Mike. What about Sarah? And I still love Storm."

"You...You're right. I'm sorry." Mike said beginning to cry. He pulled away from Lucas and ran to his bed, sitting and leaning against the wall sobbing quietly to himself.

Lucas shook his head, unbelieving of what had just happened. But he knew Mike was crying for real this time. And he'd never seen Mike cry before, ever. Lucas knew something must have really been bothering him. He hopped off the floor, his feet gliding across as he rushed to Mike's side. "Mike. Talk to me. What's going on?"

Mike shook his head in response, Mike not wanting to talk. His face was racked with tears but he made no sound save for a few gentle sobs. Lucas didn't know what to think, or do, or say. He sat himself up and leaned against the wall, pulling Mike closer to him. Lucas held Mike, resting Mikes head on his chest and stroking him gently. "Mike. You can trust me. I'm your friend. I promise I won't tell anyone any of what you say to me tonight. Not even Storm."

Mike held onto Lucas, feeling safe and warm. His tears subsiding gently. "I...I have to tell you something. But I'm not even sure of it myself."

"It's ok Dude, go on..." Lucas said soothingly.

Mike took a few deep breaths and wiped some of the tears off his face. "You know Sarah and I did it. But...I've...had these thoughts lately. And I don't like them. I want them to go away."

"You've been thinking about guys?"

"Not often. Just like when I'm really horny sometimes. I mean, no offence Lucas. I love you and Storm and Marcel and who you are. But I don't want to be like you. I love Sarah, so much. She's my whole world. I don't like having these thoughts. I don't know what to do. I want to get rid of them."

Lucas absorbed everything Mike said and took a few deep breaths "Mike. That's just being horny man. It's like primal attraction. I believe everyone has it to some degree. I know people say you can't tell a gay person from a straight person. But I really believe with you, you're straight."

"How do you know I'm not some big fag...sorry, you know what I mean. It's because I'm too ugly to be gay right? Please say yes."

"I'm sorry, but you're not ugly. You're beautiful man. I think you're confused right now. I think being with us has opened your mind a lot more but you're thinking just because you hang with us you have to be like us. I've told you before and I'll tell you again, it doesn't work like that."

"So I'm straight? Really really straight?"

"Mike, let me ask you some questions. Sit up. I'm good at this don't worry. And I'm really proud that you're opening up to me Mike. I promise you nothing you say to me will ever leave these lips."

"I trust you Lucas."

Lucas and Mike sat cross legged on Mike's bunk, directly opposite each other. Lucas reached out both his hands and grabbed Mikes, holding them tightly in his own. The moon shining through the window their only light. The night was cool, and not particularly warm right now. Mike took a few deep breaths and readied himself for Lucas' questions. "I know me and you have talked about this before, but I'm gonna go a little deeper this time dude. I want you to answer honestly. First question: Do you think you could ever be in a relationship with a guy?"

Mike closed his eyes, grimacing at the question. "No. I don't think I could. And the more I think about it, the more the idea just doesn't agree with me."

Lucas nodded in response "Good. Well..." Lucas began saying but he was interrupted by Mike.

"But." Mike interrupted. "Uhh I think I could be with a guy if it were you or Marcel. But not Storm, that's too creepy. And only because I know you two and because you know I love you."

"Whoa Mike. Ok so when you have these thoughts, is it purely sexual? Or is it in the way that you think of Sarah, as a partner?"

"Lucas, no one can compare to Sarah. That's why having these thoughts kills me. She's my whole world. You know, she looks at me. And every time she does, she peers into my soul man. She knows me. She accepts me. And she loves me for me. I mean, I'm not rich. I'm not that clever. I've got lots of baggage and problems. But still she loves me. Yeah...I love her." Mike smiled.

"You're just confused. That's all. You've just like taken a massive step with Sarah. And it scares you. You don't think you're ready for that much yet are you? You still want to grow with her a bit more don't you?"

"Fuck. You're good. You're better than good. You're fucking awesome. Storm is such a fuck up for letting you go."

"Heh. Thanks. Now shut up and don't change the subject. I bet you can count the number of times you've thought about a guy, on one hand. Is that right?"

"Yeah. Once or twice."

"Geez, why the hell are we even having this conversation. Mike, I've told you once and I'll tell you again. You don't like guys that way, so stop trying to be like me man. You're trying to be like the rest of us. BUT YOU'RE NOT!! I mean, at best you're like bi 5% to the guys and a whopping 95% for the girls."

"LUCAS! Where did you get your fucking psychologist degree? You're scaring me with your rightness man. You're like making everything obvious for me to see, so I can deal with it and understand."

"It's cool man. That's what friends are for."

"This is the second time you've helped me like this. I think I could be with a guy. But I wouldn't enjoy it. And that's pretty much what it comes down to. I'm still straight, that's a relief." Mike said relieved. "Lucas, you are so loveable you know that? I'm telling you, if I were gay I'd want you so bad. You rule man."

Lucas nodded at Mike and smiled. "I think that's you sorted out...again. And if this happens again Mike, I'm going to make you kiss a guy at least. And no it won't be me."

"Oh man, but I really want to?" Mike laughed.

"Ok well I'm going to bed now. Glad you're feeling a lot better." Lucas smiled as he went to hop off Mikes bed.

"Not yet." Mike said not letting go of Lucas' hands. Mike pulled Lucas back down to sit. Lucas looked at Mike oddly, unsure of what Mike wanted. "Lucas, I still want to kiss you. But not sexually. Just a peck on the lips to show how much I appreciate you."

"Not as anything apart from friends?"

"I promise."

"Uuuuuhh ok." Lucas said nervously.

Mike leaned in slowly, as did Lucas. Lucas hesitated, nervous and uncertain. Mike took the initiative and kissed Lucas gently on the lips. The first time he had ever kissed a guy. Except it wasn't sexual, sensual maybe but not sexual. Lucas responded by pressing his lips against Mikes tenderly feeling awkward at first but feeling Mikes true intentions Lucas loosened up. Mike pressed against Lucas lips, tasting them in one brief moment. Both of them pulled back slowly and smiled at each other. "That wasn't too bad." Mike said. "Storm's right, you do taste like strawberries."

"Storm said that?"

"Yup." Mike replied. "Anyway, you know there wasn't anything behind that kiss except that I really love you Lucas. You're my best friend you know. My very best friend."

"What about Storm?" Lucas asked.

"Storm isn't my best friend. We're not as close as we used to be but we're actually closer. That doesn't make any sense. We both decided to each other that we're brothers. And from now on we'd actually acknowledge each other as brothers instead of just thinking it."

"Umm Mike. I know we're going to get into arguments now and then, but please don't put your hands on me. I promise I'll never do that to you. It really hurts me man." Lucas said gulping.

Mike started to feel really bad about himself. A few tears came back to him and he covered his face. He hated the fact that he had laid his hands on Lucas because he promised he wouldn't be like his Dad and get violent. "I don't want to be like my Dad. I try so hard to make sure I don't end up like him. I'm so sorry Lucas. I promise I won't ever do that to you again. Will you please forgive me? I mean, really forgive me and not just say you do."

Lucas looked Mike in the eyes, holding Mikes face up. "I forgive you Mike. I forgive you. I think that tonight you and I sorta solidified our friendship. I love you Mike. I can say that easily. I can only say that to Storm, you and yeah that's about it. Oh yeah I love Storms Mom and Dade too. They rule, oh yeah and my parents. Umm I don't know about Marcel yet, I don't think I love him, but I'm starting to like him as a friend. And well Sarah's cool but I'm not as close to her as Storm or Marcel. But yeah, I love you man."

"Geez I was STARTING to feel special till you splurged out all those other names. I thought it was you and me man? What happened." Mike sobbed sarcastically.

"Dickhead." Lucas said rolling his eyes.

"GIMMIE A HUG MAN!!" Mike yelled tackling Lucas. Mike hugged Lucas tight and squeezed him tight. Mike started tickling Lucas and Lucas couldn't stop laughing out loud.

"Stop stop please!!" Lucas begged.

Mike let go for a second "Ummm NO!"

They rolled around on the bed, Lucas trying to get free of Mike but he couldn't. Eventually they landed in a heap with a thud on the floor.

"Mike, we have to get some sleep man. I know you want me but Dude, you gotta control yourself." Lucas laughed.

"You wish strawberry lips. You aint got tits or pussy so I don't like ya like that."

"I'm glad. Now get off me." Lucas said pushing Mike off and jumping back into his own bed.

Mike hauled himself up and got into his own bed. They both lay there looking out at the stars and smiling. "I feel much better now. Thanks Mike."

"I feel much better too. Thanks Lucas." Mike replied smiling.

Lucas yawned to himself "Love you Mike. Goodnight Dude."

"Love you too Bro. Sweet Dreams. And everything will work out with Storm, I promise."

"I hope so."

"Lucas, do you want me to hold you? You can sleep with me if you want. We'll be up before anyone else so it'll be ok. Just to keep you warm and make you feel safe. Me and Storm do that a lot. But not Marcel, coz he always feels me up."

"Uuuhh no thank you Mike. I know you mean well, but it's just not the same if it's not Storm." Lucas said weeping quietly. "Oh shit. Here I go again."

Mike pulled his covers up and motioned for Lucas to go over "Come on Bro. I'll look after you, I promise." Mike said reassuringly.

Lucas nervously got up and hopped in next to Mike. Lucas slipped in tentatively, not once taking his eyes off Mike. Mike pulled Lucas close to him and held him tenderly. Lucas, hesitant at first slipped his hands around Mike's body and held onto him tightly. Lucas nestled his head into Mike's chest and yawned. Nothing was said, they just lay there holding each other and keeping each other warm and safe. Mike gently stroking Lucas' hair till the both of them gently passed into the Dreamscape.

* * * * * * *

Sarah walked into the School cafeteria and noticed Storm sitting by himself in the corner. She figured he’d had enough time of being a jerk off and it was time he got dealt to. She walked up behind him and noticed his head was face down on the table and he was asleep.

"Storm, wake up." Sarah said prodding Storm.

"Go away…I’m sleepy." Storm mumbled.

"What the hell are you doing asleep? Where the hell have you been hiding?"

"I’ll do it when I get up Mom." Storm mumbled.

Sarah sat herself down next to Storm and pulled Storms head up. "Hey sleeping beauty. Your fly’s undone."

"Huh wha?" Storm mumbled in a daze.

"What the hell is wrong with you? You look like shit. Are you on drugs?"

"Nooo, I’m just sleepy. Let me sleep. I wanna go back to sleep." Storm mumbled flopping his head back down.

"Ok baby. You go back to sleep. And when you wake up, I’m gonna be here and we’ll sort this out ok? I’m really worried about you."

"Ok." Storm said softly.

Storm laid his head back down on the table, cushioned by his school bag. Sarah stroked the back of his head gently, very concerned with his welfare. It was one thing for him to be distant, it was another for him to be like this. He looked worn and tired definitely not his usual self. "It’ll be ok Storm, you just sleep." She said softly.

"Sarah! Sarah!" Stacey yelled.

"What do you want?"

"Claire and Marcel are arguing about something, they’re at the back of the sheds. I think she’s trying to get into his pants but he doesn’t want her, he wants me. That’s why they’re arguing."

"Uhh yeah ok, whatever."

"Well aren’t you going to go sort it out?"

Sarah remembered what Marcel had told her the day before about Claire and her brother Jacob, smacking herself on the head. That must be what they were arguing about. Sarah stood up, looking down at Storms sleeping body and then towards Stacey. Who’s it gonna be? Storm or Marcel? "I’m sorry Storm." She said to his sleeping form. "Come on, show me where." Sarah said to Stacey.

"Ok." Stacey said pulling Sarah along.

"I’ll be back Storm!" Sarah yelled back to no response.

They made their way towards the back of the school. When they arrived at the back shed Sarah motioned Stacey away, Stacey not too pleased with that. Sarah stepped around the corner to a shock inducing sight. "Marcel, are you ok?" Sarah yelled in surprise.

"Sarah!" Marcel smiled turning to her.

"Hi Sarah." Claire smiled.

"What are you two smiling about?"

"Claire’s cool with everything. She understands and she’s not going to tell anyone I don’t want to. We’ve talked about everything, she’s fantastic."

"Oh. That’s great." Sarah smiled weakly.

Claire smiled at Marcel and turned to Sarah "Yeah, I mean my brother Jacob is the same. He had the same problems Marcel did but he’s really come to terms with himself a lot."

"A huh." Sarah replied. "Well Stacey being the worry wart that she is told me you two were arguing. I think she blew it a bit out of proportion huh."

"She’s worried about her baby." Claire smiled at Marcel.

"Hey! I don’t like her one bit. Even if I were straight I still wouldn’t like it one bit."

"So how do you know you’re not straight." Sarah said flatly.

"I just do."

"Have you ever been with a girl Marcel? I mean really BEEN with a girl?" Claire asked.


Claire furrowed her eyebrows in puzzlement "And nothing sparked it for you? No intimacy or anything?"

"Nope. Nobody has ever really done it for me except….nevermind."


"Yeah who? A girl?"

"No not a girl. I’ve been with a girl, you know BEEN with a girl. But I’ve only ever kissed a guy."

"So how do you know guys do it for you?"

"I just know. It’s always been guys that did it for me. I just used the girls as a mask or to try and fix myself. After many attempts I realized, nothing was going to change."

"You shouldn’t even bother trying. You said it yourself, you’re Marcel Lewis. Nothing more, nothing less."

"Yeah I know Sarah. Claire helped me realize that too."

"Really. Anyway I better go, people to see." Sarah said turning to leave.

Sarah left before anyone could say anything. She felt a bit jealous and rejected, it seemed as if Claire was muscling in on her territory. Or maybe she was just being oversensitive. Sarah was used to being the female confidant to Marcel.

"What happened?" Stacey asked walking up to Sarah.

"Go see for yourself. Better hurry before they really get naked."

Stacey ran off to see what Claire and Marcel were doing in a hurried rush. Sarah smiled to herself at Staceys demented devotion to getting Marcel. One of her very few admirable qualities. Sarah walked back to the cafeteria to talk to Storm but when she arrived he was already gone. "I should have stayed with you Storm." Sarah cursed to herself as she sat down.

She looked for any sign of Storm but she could see none and she knew once he’d gone he’d be hard pressed to find again. She wallowed at the table in her anger and loneliness. She spread her hands out across the table and pressed her head softly against it. "Get a grip Sarah." She whispered to herself.


Sarah shot her head up in surprise. "Oh hi Claire."

"Can I sit down please?"

"Knock yourself out." Sarah said resting her head back against the table.

Claire sat down next to Sarah and started rubbing her back gently. "I know what it feels like."

"What what feels like?"

"Feeling alone."

"I’m not alone."

"I know you’re not alone. But you still feel like it. Don’t think I don’t notice. When I was new here I felt alone. Even now at times I still feel like an outsider. But you know what makes me feel better?"


"This." Claire said pulling out a little tiny rock, smooth and cool. "Anytime I feel angry or alone or sad or even happy, I put this in my hand and squeeze it tight. Just let it all flow out into the rock. Sure it’s all in your head and the rock doesn’t actually do anything but it does help a little. So anytime you feel alone just put this in your hand and hold it tight. Because Sarah I know you better than you think I do. You’re like a rock, strong and true. Never wavering or faltering, always constant and reliable. Dependable. Solid. I want you to have this."

Sarah took the rock and held it in her hand, still warm from being squeezed tightly in Claires hand. "Thank you."

"That’s what friends are for right?"

"Yeah, that’s right." Sarah smiled.

"I’m not trying to take your place. I just didn’t want Marcel feeling uncomfortable or worrying about me knowing he was like my brother."

Sarahs respect for Claire just increased ten fold. "I know. I guess I’m just not used to sharing Marcel. I’ve always been the one he came to. The only ‘girl’ for him as they would say. But what you did was really awesome. Thank you for doing that."

"No thanks necessary."

"I like you. You’re a keeper. But no matter what, please do not get with Brad. He is such a freak."

"Oh please, I thought I was a bit more classy than that. I’m going straight to the top baby. It seems either all the guys are taken or they’re gay. Speaking of which, where’s Storm?"

"I don’t know. He was just here. But I don’t know where he went."

"The more I think about him, the more I like him. But he’s so hard to track down."

"He’s avoiding the world at the moment. Marriage problems I think."

"Everyone’s taken. Will I ever get someone? And I don’t just mean anyone. I may be single but I’m not desperate."

"Claire, you’re beautiful. You’ll get your man."

"I know. Sucks waiting for one to fall from the sky though." Claire sighed as she leaned her head down on the table next to Sarahs.

"Do you want your rock back now?" Sarah smiled.

"I’ll need that rock back when I get desperate enough to start thinking Brad is a catch. I will never ever get with him."

* * * * * * *

"Stay away from Claire, Sheridan. She's mine." Brad taunted as he stepped back up and gripped the tackle bag again.

"She wouldn't get with you if you were the last dog on the planet." Lucas said jogging away.

Brad got caught off guard by Lucas' last statement and Josh nailed him next. Brad looked at Josh surprised and Josh shrugged, smiling. He ran back and hopped into line behind Lucas.

The line pushed forward and it was once again Lucas' turn to run at Brad. Lucas ran at Brad top speed and tackled Brad full force. Brad got knocked off his feet and fell back hard. "What's wrong Brad? Can't take it?" Lucas said jogging away backward from Brad, who was lying on the ground holding a tackle bag.

Lucas was laying into Brad harder than anyone else. Everyone apart from Mike usually went a bit easy when Brad was holding the tackle bag for fear of repercussions. "You'll get yours Sheridan. Or maybe I can just take out that bitch of yours again. How about that?"

"What did you say?" Lucas said stopping dead in his tracks.

"Oh. Nothing pretty boy. Go back in line, give it another shot." Brad said tauntingly.

Lucas reluctantly stepped back into line and awaited his next run at Brad. That last statement of Brads had really thrown him off. Was it Brad that set Storm up? Or did he mean take Claire out on a date? He obviously thought Lucas and Claire were an item. It was Lucas turn again and he ran at Brad, but his concentration was not a hundred percent and he was bumped off.

"Better luck next time Sweetheart." Brad snickered.

Lucas got up and jogged back, furious and angry. He hated Brad, no doubt about it. Josh ran back from his run and stood behind Lucas. "Don't let him get to you." Josh said patting Lucas on the back. "Now go sit him on his ass."

Once again came Lucas' turn to run at Brad. Lucas ran at Brad hard and fast, hitting him square on and knocking Brad on his ass again. Brad got up and brushed himself off, snickering at Lucas. Lucas smiled at him and turned to jog away when a flicker of light caught Lucas' attention. He turned back and looked at Brad, Lucas' eyes moving down in slow motion. And there he saw what made his blood run cold. Lying at Brad's feet, on the grass all alone. Storm's necklace. Lucas' heart dropped. He knew now it was Brad who had set Storm up. They must have stolen Storm's necklace when they beat him. Brad had been wearing Storm's necklace this whole time. The necklace that Lucas had given to Storm to bond them together. Lucas shivered with anger and disgust. "You." Lucas cursed under his breath.

Lucas charged at Brad, grabbing Brad in a tackle and hauling him into the air before he slammed Brad to the ground, knocking the wind out of Brad. Lucas threw off his helmet as he clenched his fist and slammed it into Brads face before he had a chance to get his breath back. Brad threw his head forward, head-butting Lucas. Lucas reared back and Brad took the opportunity by grabbing Lucas' head and slamming it into his knee. Lucas grabbed his face in pain and saw Storm's necklace on the ground beneath him. It fueled his anger even more as he picked it up and clenched it in his fist before he slammed his fist into Brad's stomach.

Brad heaved and threw his fist back into Lucas' face. Brad grabbed Lucas' head and head-butted him again. Lucas' nose started to bleed but he didn't let up on Brad. Lucas unleashed a combo of punches on Brad, hitting him continuously in the head and chest. Brad tried to get up and Lucas shot to his feet before Brad could and he kicked Brad hard in the chest, knocking Brad back. Brad got up again and threw another punch at Lucas but Lucas countered. Lucas grabbed Brad around the torso and hauled him high into the air before he slammed him back down onto the ground. Brad tried one more time to get to his feet and Lucas knowing he had the clear advantage decided to end it once and for all. Lucas grabbed Brad by the neck and pulled him up. "You touch Storm again and you won't ever be able to play football again. Understand?"

Brad heaved, beaten and battered but still ever defiant "Ooh you should have seen it Lucas." Brad teased "We beat that bitch down good. Hit after hit after hit. I made that fucker bleed. I told him to beg for mercy but still he wouldn't give in. Still he wasn't all that conscious, so I can't really blame him. But I made him scream. How many people can say they've made Storm Marcus scream."

Lucas shook with shock and horror. The thought of what Brad had done to Storm killed him inside. Lucas anger reached unseen heights. His face indignant and cold. Lucas felt sick to his stomach. He stood there in shock, unable to move. Brad still limp and being held up by Lucas.

"I made Storm bleed. And I'm gonna do it again." Brad said spitting in Lucas' face.

"NO!" Lucas screamed.

Any restraint Lucas once had just disappeared. Lucas jerked Brad up before he let go of him. He shot his hands down and used both his hands to chop brad hard on the ribs. In a flash, before Brad even had time to reel back Lucas fired off a combo of hits. Lucas' hits furious and unstoppable. Power blow after power blow. Double hit in the stomach, before moving up to Brads sternum. All lightening fast and so quick Brad couldn't even fall down. Brad attempted a counter but Lucas grabbed him and hauled him up once more before slamming him into the ground for the third time with an almighty thud. Brad lay there motionless, unable to move. Lucas stood over him before sitting himself down on Brad, pinning him down. Lucas leant down, getting right in Brads face. "You...are nothing. You are a pathetic little being with big muscles. But in case you hadn't noticed, I can kick your ass. So can Marcel and so can Storm. I am going to track down every one of you who laid a finger on Storm. And I'm going to make them pay. And then I'm going to break you Brad. I'm going to ruin you. And I'm going to make you suffer."

"You can't stop me." Brad muttered.

"You've just moved up to number one on my hit list Brad. And I'll stop you, oh boy will I ever stop you." Lucas said getting up.

Lucas looked around and noticed everyone was looking on in shock. The whole team was watching on in quiet awe.

"Have you two quite finished now?" Coach Anderson said.

"Uuuh yes sir." Lucas said hauling Brad to his feet. "Aint that right Brad." Lucas said slapping Brad on the back of the head.

"Yes Sir." Brad muttered.

"Everyone, hit the showers." Coach yelled. "Show's over. But not you two. Get over here."

Lucas walked over to the Coach and Brad stumbled over behind him painfully. The rain poured down on them but it didn't even phase Lucas. Coach Anderson looked them up and down, assessing the damage the two had done each other. Lucas had a few bruises, a bleeding nose but apart from that looked pretty good. Brad on the other hand, wasn't as fortunate. His face was pretty busted up with the makings of a shiner and busted lip. He stood hunched to his side, holding his rib area in pain. "You alright there Brad?" Coach asked.

"I'm fine. Nothing wrong with me." Brad said proudly.

"What about you Sheridan?" Coach asked turning to Lucas.

"Just great." Lucas replied.

"I hope you two have gotten that all out of your system. Now shake hands."

Lucas scowled and turned to face Brad. Brad extended his hand grudgingly and they shook, both trying to out squeeze the other. Both snatching their hands away in disgust.

"Good, now both of you…laps till you drop."

"Yes Sir." They both replied.

Coach Anderson walked off and left both of them standing there in the rain. Neither one wanting to be the first to budge. "'You're pretty tough Sheridan." Brad muttered.

"Shut your damn mouth." Lucas snarled back.

"You sure laid me out. Didn't think you had it in you."

"Why? Why'd you do that to Storm?"

"Because I hate him. My whole life he's gotten up my nose with his smug coolness. It annoys the shit out of me. You know I did it for you and Josh. He pushed you both around and then wanted a piece of me. When I skipped class and we saw him walking around by himself, I just couldn't pass up the chance. I did it for you man. And you're tough man, you don't need to hang with him, hang with me. We're men, we had a good fight and we're both walking. Let's be friends."

"You did it because of me? I can't believe this. Brad, you shouldn't have done that. It wasn't right. You stepped over the line. I want you to apologize to Storm."

"WHAT? Hey I don't wanna be friends that bad."

"Brad. You're going to apologize and you're going to tell me the names of everyone who laid a finger on Storm. If you don't. You're not walking off this'll be carried off." Lucas said putting one hand on Brads shoulder and the other against Brads ribs.

"AaaHh ok ok. I promise. Geez, you should be thanking me."

"Ok who helped you."

"Scott, Cody, Josh and Peter. That's it."

"Josh helped you?"

"Sure did. Why so surprised?"

"I'm not a violent person but right now I really feel like making you hurt like you never hurt before. You make me sick how you can just beat someone without a second thought. Storm didn't deserve that. You couldn't even face him one on one. It shows what a coward you are. That's what you are, a weak little coward Brad. I'm not scared of you. Or any of your sidekicks. I kicked your ass and I can kick theirs. And believe me, you're all going to pay for what you did." Lucas said heading off to start his laps.

Brad stood there in the middle of the field, soaking wet from the heavy rain that drenched him. His face was dirty and covered with blood and mud. He watched Lucas walking away and snickered to himself. "No Lucas. You're so wrong. You're the one who is going to pay." He muttered under his breath.

* * * * * * *

Josh wandered back to his room from the wash house with his bunch of just cleaned clothes. His hands were both full so he had to use his feet to kick open his door. He tried to hurry because the rain was drenching him and making his clothes all wet again. He kicked the door open and rushed inside. "Lucas." Josh yelled jumping back in surprise.

"Why?" Lucas asked bluntly.

"Why what?"

"Don’t fuck with me. Tell me why you did it?"

"Uhhh you mean Storm. I didn’t touch him I swear it Lucas."

"Were you there?"


"Then why didn’t you stop them?"

"I tried to man, I really did. But they wouldn’t listen. And I couldn’t take all of them. They just kept beating him."

Lucas stepped closer to Josh, trying to contain the rage he felt within. "Give me something. Give me something to believe that you are a decent human being. That you’re not the same as Brad. You hurt the person I would die for. You made him scream and you made him bleed. You may not have been the one smashing his head against a wall but you sure as hell didn’t do enough to stop it and that makes you just as bad."

"Lucas, I’m sorry. I did stop them before they really caused him serious harm. And I helped carry him home. I know it doesn’t change the fact that I’m weak but I’ve been kicking myself over not doing more ever since that day…I really am sorry."

"Good." Lucas said walking out.

"Wait Lucas. Please don’t hate me. I’m sorry, I’m really sorry. I’ll do anything. You’re my only real friend."

"I WAS your only real friend. Past tense. Get used to it."

Lucas walked through the mud and rain oblivious to its effect on him. He was too angry to worry about trivial little things like the wet and cold. It was fairly dark now and everyone else was already in their rooms studying or messing around. Lucas felt cold and miserable, and he didn’t care. It had a numbing effect on him that helped keep him focussed.

Josh ran out after him wearing a white shirt and shorts and no shoes. He ran after Lucas and stood in front of him blocking his way. He put his hands on Lucas shoulders and Lucas retaliated instantly. Lucas threw Josh hands off him and hit him with a one-two combo in the head making Josh stagger back. When Josh didn’t fall Lucas jabbed him four times in the chest and ribs before he kicked him square in the gut knocking him backwards.

"You were supposed to be my friend. And that makes me despise you even worse than Brad." Lucas said standing over Josh.

Josh heaved in agony, curling into a ball and holding his stomach. Josh crawled onto his knees and slowly stood up again, rain falling off his face and his shirt and shorts all muddy. "Hit me as much as you want, just please forgive me. I’ll do anything." Josh choked up some blood but still he managed to raise himself to his feet.

Lucas rage suddenly dissipated when he saw Josh's blood. "Why?"

"Because you’re the first person in my entire life that’s done something honest and good for me. And I don’t want to lose you. I want you to hit me until your rage is gone, so then you might forgive me. So go on, keep hitting me."

"Oh my god. I’m turning into Brad. I’m no better than he is. Josh I’m so sorry." Lucas said picking Josh up.

"I don’t care. You can hit me till I can’t get back up, I don’t care. I just want you to forgive me."

"I won’t ever hit you again. I’m so sorry Josh. Please forgive me."

Josh put his arm around Lucas for leverage and leant his head on him. "You’re good for me.  I’ve only just started to stick up for myself because of you.  You don’t know how important you’ve been to me."

"I’m so sorry Josh. I’m so sorry."

"Forget it. I can handle a few bruises. I’m going to go lie down now. Promise you forgive me?"

"I promise."

Josh began to stagger back to his room, his clothes all dirty and spots of blood on his shirt. "I’ll apologize to Storm as soon as we get back. I was always going to, now I’ll just do it sooner."

Lucas stood in the rain sick to the stomach with himself. He had crossed the line, become the person he most despised. He ran back after Josh and swept him up, carrying Josh into his room and laying him down gently on his bed. "I’m sorry Josh. I’m so sorry."

"Trust me. I deserved it. Storm went through a lot worse than this."

"I know but that’s no excuse. I’ve always tried tot be a pacifist. A peacemaker. I hate violence. You know, violence begets violence. I should know better. I swear I’ll make it up to you Josh."

"I just want you to be my friend. That’s all I want from you."

"I’ll try my best." Lucas said getting teary eyed at the weak state Josh was in.

Josh sat up, holding his head. "I need to go have a shower, I’m all dirty."

"Let me help." Lucas said finding a clean top and shorts.

"No thanks Lucas. I can manage."

"Oh, sorry."

Josh stood to his feet painfully. "You got quite a kick there Lucas. At least Brad had padding on when you got him. I’m complimenting your strength, not taking a dig at you."

Lucas rubbed his face trying to shake off the anger he had at himself. He felt like he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, nothing was going right. "Why did they do it Josh?"

"Brad hates Storm. Always has, always will. It goes back a long time. Storm has always been a step ahead of Brad. When Brad saw Storm vulnerable he went straight for him. Brad wasn’t exactly in the best of moods having been just publicly embarrassed by Marcel. I wish I could have had the courage Marcel did to stand up to Brad."

"So Brad and Storm have never gotten on?"

"Never. Brad just hates how Storm has always been better than him. Brad knows Storm is cool and that pisses him off. He’s jealous. You know though come to think of it, Storm and Brad used to be friends way way way way way back before Storm was even called Storm. When he used to be called Daniel. They just grew apart I guess. That was years ago. But Brad hates Storm."

"Now there’s something I didn’t know. Well I hate Brad. He makes me sick. I swear I wanted to beat him unconscious today. I think of what he did to Storm and it makes me want to die. You can’t bear the thought of someone you love going through pain. You’d do anything to trade places with them. When Brad said he broke Storm and made him scream that just…killed me."

"Call him. Call him now."


"No, the Pope. Of course Storm. Call him."


"There’s a shop about a mile up, there’s a phone outside."

"I’m there. Thanks Josh." Lucas said getting up.

"Later friend." Josh smiled back at Lucas.

Lucas turned around and walked back to Josh "Josh, I’m really sorry. I feel so bad but I don’t want you to forgive me yet. I’m going to earn your trust again. I promise."

Josh feigned a smile and nodded. "Just don’t hug me. I know you like hugging and all but I’m a bit sore so just get on out of here and call him."

"Ok Dude. I’ll make it up to you I promise. Bye." Lucas said walking out the door.

* * * * * * *

I opened our front door and walked in. The lights were off and it was dark inside. I closed the door gently and walked inside quietly. I walked up the stairs softly, plodding along till I got to my bedroom. I walked into my room, throwing my bag down. I took off my shirt and put some shorts on, flopping onto the bed. I yawned to myself so tired and worn. I closed my eyes and could feel the Dreamscape pulling me in. Suddenly its pull was severed and I was jarred back to alert by the phone. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I sat up and looked on at my phone as it rang I let it ring on by itself. It stopped rather suddenly and I wondered who it could have been.

Dade pushed my door open and threw his phone at me "He's been calling all night. Now talk to him damnit." Dade said slamming the door shut again.

"Storm." The voice pleaded.

My heart sank as I heard that voice. I hadn't heard it for so long. And even though it was the last voice I wanted to hear in the world, I longed for it so much it killed me. Lucas.

"Storm...please." He cried.

I fell back on my bed and curled up into a little ball, holding the phone close to my ear. The sound of his voice and the distress it was in setting off my tears. I couldn't believe it was him. "Lu...Lucas." I stammered.

I could hear Lucas sighing in relief and breathing heavily and I could tell he'd been crying a lot and was still crying "Storm. I've missed you so much. I miss you baby. I've been so worried about you. I wanna come back. Pleeaassee can I come back tonight?"

I wanted him to, I wanted him with me right now. But I am such a proud idiot. "Lucas, where are you?"

"I'm...I'm at some phone booth. I sneaked out of camp. I had to call you Storm. I found out about what they did to you last Friday. Why didn't you tell me Storm?"

"How did you find out? What do you know Lucas?"

"Mike told me. And I found your necklace. They took it from you. I was so angry when I saw someone had taken that from you. He told me...he told me..." Lucas said sobbing and shaking, he was having a hard time getting the words out. "He told me he made you scream...and made you bleed. Why didn't you tell me Storm?"

Images flooded me, becoming ever more vivid. I just wanted to close them out of my mind. "Lucas. There's nothing you can do about it." I said losing my breath a little as memories of the beating reared their ugly heads "I was weak. That's why I screamed. It doesn't matter Lucas. I'm ok now." I said taking a few deep breaths.

"You're not weak. That's how I know they must have hurt you a lot to make you scream. When they made you scream, they broke your spirit. And I can't believe I wasn't there. I should have known something was wrong. I should have felt it."

"I don't want to talk about it Lucas." I said sobbing. "Please don't make me talk about it."

I could picture Lucas right now, crying and leaning his forehead against the phone box. "Oh Storm. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. Please forgive me."

"I don't need to forgive you. You didn't do anything wrong. It's my own fault for pushing you around. If I hadn't done that, I wouldn't have been beaten. So you see, it's all my own fault. I deserved it. So I don't have to forgive you because you didn't do anything wrong." I said still sobbing hard and having trouble talking.

"You did NOT deserve that. Nobody deserves that. Don't blame yourself for them hurting you. I can't believe how much you must be going through. But don't you dare blame yourself for this. You don't deserve that."

"Yeah I do. I'm pathetic."

"You are NOT pathetic. You must be going through hell right now. I should be there with you. I wanna be there for you."

"Lucas, Lucas I'm ok. You don't need to worry about me." I said trying to talk calmly. "Lucas. Why did you call?"

"Because I'm worried about you. I know you're not ok. I know something's going on. I wanna help you."

I tried to get a grip on myself. I wiped my tears away and tried to make my voice not sound like I had just been sobbing. "Lucas. I don't know what to say."

I could hear Lucas sighing "Just to hear the sound of your voice. Do you know how much I've missed your voice. How much I've missed you."

I turned my face into the pillow letting out a few muffled sobs, hoping Lucas wouldn't hear them. I couldn't say anything. I just heaved with my deep breaths and sobs.

"Storm. Don't you love me anymore?"

What? Did he really think that? Had I been that much of a prick. "Of course I do." I replied.

"Then why did you leave me. What did I do?"

"You didn't do anything. I fucked up. I hurt you and I had to pay the price. And that was letting you go. It was the right thing to do for you Lucas."

"No it wasn't. It was the worst thing you could have ever done. That hurt me more than anything. We could have worked through it. It wasn't worth losing you over Storm. You don't know how much you hurt me even more by leaving me."

"See, no matter what I do I hurt you. I can't handle that. I don't like hurting you. Can't you see you're better off without me?"

"Now see...that hurts. I am NOT better off without you. Do you realize that since we first met, we've never been apart for more than a day or at least talked to each other on the phone. Until last week. These have been the worst days of my life. You know, when I came to Merlow I really didn't want to. But then I saw you that day on the bus, and you changed my life. You made ME feel special. You made me feel loved and wanted and HAPPY. And that was even when we were just friends. And now here we are, and whatever we had when we were friends is like 10 fold now. Dude, you can't even fathom it."

"Lucas. I'm not important anymore. Can't you see, it's time for you to move on. Everyone else has. I'm what you USED to need. Now you need to live man."

"I can't bear it without you Storm. You don't know how much I need you. I need to see your face every morning. I need to hold your hand. I need you to hear me tell you how much I love you every day. I need to look into your eyes and see how much you love me. You take those away from me and you kill me Storm."

"Lucas, I can hear the rain. You're going to make yourself sick man. Go back to camp."

"No. I'll stand here all night if I have to. I don't care if I get sick or catch cold. That's not important. You know I've been here all night calling you and you weren't home. Dade has been worried sick. Where have you been?"

"I've been walking around. Around town and just walking the streets trying to sort myself out. A lot of the time I go to our spot by the water. And I just lay down and sleep, or think."

"STORM!! Do you know how dangerous that is? Don't do that. You'll make everyone worried sick."

"Who is everyone? Dade? It doesn't matter. I just need time out."

"So where does that leave us?"

"There is no 'US'."

"I'm so angry at you."


"No it's not cool. And it's not over. We're going to sort this out. And don't think I'll let you run out on me this time."

"fine." I said submissively.

"Don't be like that Storm. I didn't call you to be angry. I wanted to see if you were ok."

"Well as you can tell, I'm just fine."

"Storm...don't be mad."

"You should go back to bed. Don't worry I'll make sure I meet you when you get back tomorrow so you can yell at me. Maybe you can just kick my ass too. That oughta fix my stupid ass up."

"Hey hey. Don't do that. Please. Don't even imply that."

"I'm sorry. I know you'd never do that. You should go Lucas, I really don't want you to get sick."

"I don't want to hang up though. I want to hear your voice. I could even just stand here all night listening to you sleep. Just to know you're safe."

"I love you Lucas."

Lucas went silent for a while and all I could hear were his gentle sobs. "Do you know how much I've missed those words? I know something's wrong Storm. I can feel you hurting. Why won't you let me help you?"

"Because. I'm too stubborn and proud."

"Don't you know how much I love you? I know you need me right now."

I started sobbing again and wiping my tears and trying to choke back the sobs "Yeah I do Lucas. I need you. I need you here with me right now. I need help. I wish you were here with me. I tried to make it alone but I couldn't. I need you Lucas, I need you." I sobbed.

"I'm coming back right now. I'm coming baby. You need me and there ain't nothing going to stop me."

"It's too dangerous Lucas. It's nearly 11.30pm. I don't want you getting hurt. Please. Wait until tomorrow. Go back to Camp. I'll be ok."

"Storm. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you. If you want me to wait, I can wait."

"Good. Now go get some sleep. I'll see you when you get back at school tomorrow."

"I love you Storm. I know you need me and I'm going to be there for you. Because if I can't help the person I love more than anything in the world then what's the point of being here at all."

"Can't you just jump through this phone line? I'll see you tomorrow Lucas. I love you. Bye."

"Bye." Lucas whispered having trouble saying the word.

I knew Lucas wouldn't hang up the phone so I decided to do it for both of us. But boy did it ever hurt. I wanted him with me now. But I knew this was best. Then again, I always think I know what's best. Usually I'm just making more of a mess.

I lay back and tried to quell all the turmoil inside. I felt drained and tired. But I still needed Lucas. And now he knew it. And now I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep at all tonight. I got up and turned my light back on. I sat at my desk, tapping my fingers hoping I'd get tired. But nope, not a hint of heavy eyelids. I looked at the night sky outside and wondered what Lucas was doing right now. Hopefully on his way back to getting some good sleep.

I was actually feeling a lot better. Just from talking to Lucas. Happy almost. Boy that was an odd feeling these days. I walked out of my room to go downstairs and noticed Dade was still awake.

"Dade? You ok? Can't sleep?" I asked walking into his room and sitting down on his bed next to him.

"You're asking if I'm ok? I take it Lucas made you feel better huh. He tends to do that to people."

"I've been a prick I know. But what are you still doing up?" I asked. Then I looked at him, and I knew straight away. I started grinning more and more. I knew exactly why he couldn't sleep. "GIRL TROUBLE!" I grinned.

"How did you know?" he asked in surprise.

"HELLO You're talking to Mr. Ex Stud. I've been there before. Just because I'm with a guy now doesn't mean I forgot what it's like to be with girls. So come on, tell big bro what's up?"

"It's good to have you back. I was getting sick of that other guy." Dade grinned. "Ok I'll tell you. I really really like this girl but she's older than me. And I don't think she'd look at me THAT way."

"Ok who is it?? Come on spill."


"WHAT!" I yelled in surprise.

"I'm fucking with you man." Dade grinned. "It's not her. It's her friend, Claire."

"Oh you have got to be kidding. Not her. Still, she's damn hot you know. I've kissed her before. Yup your big bro stud has gotten pretty wild with that chick. And let me tell you...she is ffiiiiinnneee like you wouldn't believe."

"I believe it. You lucky fuck, you get all the girls. And you don't even like them."

"I like them! I'm not gay. I'm well I guess you'd call me Bi. I love Lucas and I like girls. If it doesn't work out with Lucas I think I'll go back to girls. But umm I think Lucas and I have got something special."

"You do Bro. He loves you so much. You know he and I went out on Saturday night. I took him out when you decided to run away remember. Yeah and I was trying to make the guy have fun but no, all he could think about was poor little Storm. He was pissed at you though." Dade laughed. "He's going to kick your ass so bad. But only coz he wuvs his wil baby."

"You are such a fucken punk sometimes Dade." I said smiling. "So you were trying to put the hits on my boyfriend aye?" I laughed.

"You wish. This dick goes straight up all the way. You guys do your thing, I'll do mine. And we'll all have world peace. And he isn't even your boyfriend, you dumped him remember?"

"Umm yeah I remember. Momentary lapse in judgement there. I think I had a few too many stupid cells beaten into me. Anyway how did this conversation get to talking about me. I wanna know about you and Claire. Have you asked her out? I'm telling you Dade, you will kick the competition off the planet."

"Oh don't worry I know I'm the hell babe. It's just that she's older than me."

"Oh boy. You are too much like me. Cocky except you're cockiness is for real. You really are an egotistical little fuck."

Dade started laughing his head off at that last little jab. "Thank you thank you. Bro. It's good to have my punk smartass of a brother back. Even though you're a real bitch sometimes. So you think I have a chance?"

"She'd only not give you a shot if she's a lesbian. And she's made moves on both me and Lucas so I pretty much doubt that. And don't ask, it's a long story. She's great though. I really like her. Nice person."

"Will you ask her out on a date for me?"

"NO! Who do you think I am Cupid? Go ask Marcel! Yeah he's great at this stuff. He'll help you out. I think."

"Yeah he will. He's been over here a lot this week while you've been on you little 'trips'. He's worried about you. AND IT'S YOUR SIXTEENTH NEXT WEEK! You have to sort things out with Marcel before then. Promise me Storm. Now."

"Ok I promise. I'll talk to him tomorrow. I promise."

"I know you never break your promises so I expect you and Marcel to walk through that door tomorrow afternoon holding hands and telling you how much you love each other. And I wanna see some tongue in there too."

"Oh man SHUT UP. Horny little shit. Get your ass to sleep." I said kissing him on the forehead.

"Love ya Bro. Night."

"Night Dade. I love you too." I said turning off his light and closing the door gently behind me.

I walked downstairs and sat down at the kitchen bench. I figured Mom would be home pretty soon so maybe I could surprise her with a treat. I wasn't hitting the Dreamscape anytime soon so it couldn't hurt.

I got the kettle ready for Mom a hot cocoa. Too late in the evening for coffee, Cocoa and some Cookies will have to do. I thought Mom might be hungry too, I knew I was. I pulled out some chicken, mayo, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, alfalfa sprouts and practically half the fridge with some fresh bread so I could make my favorite sandwich. I put everything on and added a bit of seasoning before I slapped it together with a slice of bread. I pulled out two plates and cut the monster sandwich in half, putting one half on each plate. I noticed that as I did all this I was actually singing to myself. It'd been a while since I did that. Things must be on the up and up aye?

I pulled some OJ out and poured a glass for both Mom and I. OJ for with the sandwich and Cocoa for with the Cookies. I set the food on the table just as I heard the key in the door. I popped my head around the corner and yelled "HEY MOM!"

Mom startled a bit till she saw it was only me. "Hi Son." She said kissing me hello and carrying on upstairs.

"Are you hungry Mom? I made us something to eat and there's some Cocoa and OJ there as well." I yelled after her.

"Ok Son. Just let me get changed, I'll be right down."

"Ok Mom."

I went and sat down at the table and waited for Mom to come down. She didn't take long and she came and sat down smiling. "So how was work Mom?" I asked.

"Tiring. I'm getting too old for this. I need to find some rich bachelor to take care of my two boys and me. Abby's got her a man so she's ok. A vacation wouldn't go astray either."

"Mom I got a job to help you. So you don't have to work as much."

"What? When do you start? What's the job? Why didn't you talk to me about it before?"

"Ok ok ok back up back up. Down at the Produce Warehouse. That's why I've been gone so early in the morning. Because we have to be down there when the trucks get in at about 5am. And then I go back after school too. I started on Monday afternoon. I've been working every day this week."

"What about Karate? And how did you get your Track practice in? And that still doesn't explain why you didn't tell me about this before." Mom was starting to look a bit angry as she spoke. Number one rule Storm, don't piss Mom off.

I ran to the fridge and pulled out my pay envelope off the top. I sat back down at the table handing it to Mom. "It's ok Mom. I did it for you. Here." I said urging her to open it.

Mom opened up the envelope and pulled out the money that was inside. Her eyes went wide as she counted it all. "Son, how many hours did you work? There's over 200 dollars in here."

"Umm I worked all the hours I could Mom. I didn't want to tell you because I knew you'd say no. But look now you don't have to work as much. I don't want any of that money, it's all for you."

"Oh Son. I don't know what to say. We're not having money trouble. I don't work to make money Storm, it's more because it's something for me to do. I like working. I don't need this money. And as much as I appreciate the way in which you gave it and worked for it. I want you to have it. And for once I want you to buy something totally impractical. Buy a new pair of blades or something."

"Mom, you just killed it. I wanted you to have this. You work too hard and too much."

"Don't worry I'm on day shift next week. I'll be able to spend more time with you kids. And Storm. I want you to cut down your hours. I don't mind if you work but I want you to make sure you leave enough time to hang out with your friends, to do your homework, and to go to training. And time to relax. You do all those things and I'll let you keep working. You don't do those things and I'll get you fired boy, do you understand?"

"Yes Sir Mom Sir."

"I'm very proud of you Storm. You're such a beautiful boy, inside and out. I like to think you get them from me but I suppose your father had something to do with it. I want you to know how very proud I am of who you are. I mean, doing this for me was such a selfless thing to do. It's a true example of your character Son. You're responsible, you're sweet, intelligent, and beautiful, you look after your mother. You have great friends. You don't cause any trouble. I mean I could be biased because I'm your mother but I don't think I'm the only one who thinks of you that way. I'm sure all your friends feel the same, and Lucas."

"Mom. You're spoiling me."

"No I'm not. I'm just telling the truth. I'm proud of both you and Dade. I know what your answer will be but I still need to ask you Storm. Do you mind me taking care of Mike and Marcel?"

"Oh Mom. I don't mind. Especially not with Mike. Mike's family. No doubt about it. And Marcel just adores you, he dotes over you as if you were his own Mom. I think they're very lucky."

"I thought that's what you'd say. Are you working tomorrow morning?"

"Yeah, I am Mom."

"Then go to bed. I'll clean up."

"No, you go to bed. I'll clean up. Then I'm going to lie down on the couch and watch TV for a bit. I'm really not tired. And it's Friday tomorrow, I can get some sleep tomorrow after work. I'll get my hours cut down for next week."

"Ok Son. Thank you for the bite to eat. And thank you for the money gesture. I want you to buy something stupid you hear. Nothing practical for once."

"Yes Mom."

"Night Son." She said kissing me goodnight.

"Night Mom." I said as she headed upstairs.

I cleared away the mess and made sure the kitchen was spotless. Now I was actually starting to get a bit tired. I yawned as I lay down on the couch, the rain gently lulling me to sleep. I grabbed the remote to see what was on TV but the dreamscape claimed me before I could turn it on.

* * * * * * *

"I'm superman?"

"Yes you are Storm Marcus a.k.a. Superman." The voice said.

I looked at my surroundings. A white room with no doors, no windows and no exits. Just walls all around. I looked down at what I was wearing and cringed, a super hero's outfit. Supermans to be specific. An ice blue and white suit with no cape thank goodness. Made me look rather spiffy I think. I couldn't see who had spoken to me, it's voice not male nor female and not originating from any one point.

"Wow, that's cool man. I'm glad I'm wearing the new outfit and not that girly underwear on the outside red and blue one. This is much cooler. So like have I got those death rays and shit?"

"Death rays yes. Shit no. Superman doesn't need to shit. He eats his food and it magically disappears. Do you really think a superhero needs to go to the potty?"

"I guess not." I said. I began jumping up and down "Ok so why can't I fly?"

"Because your head is telling you can't fly. Tell it you can. Don't think you can, know you can."

"Ok." I replied. I tried thinking I could fly up and sure enough up I went, straight into the ceiling. "Ow. Who put that ceiling there?"

"You're not a very good superhero."

"Well I wanna be a better one. But I don't know how." I said bringing myself back down.

"You have to stop doubting yourself. Start realizing who you are and what you can do."

"Who am I though? And what can I do."

"You are Storm Marcus. You have the power to make your own life your best heaven or your worst hell. No one else decides your fate except you."

"Why can't I see you? Who are you?"

"Do you really want to know..."


"Very well then."

I stood in awe as before me a splinter of light erupted into a spectrum of many colors. And in that light a form began to make itself visible. I still could not make out the form but the voice began to speak to me "I am..."

* * * * * * *

I was pulled from my Dreamscape by a knocking at the door. I looked around and noticed it was still dark, rain pouring down hard outside. I looked at my watch, 3.00am in the morning. Who the hell could this be? I was a bit scared that it could be a burglar but I was more pissed that whoever it was chose such a bad time for a visit.

I got up and noticed I was a little cold because I had no covers and I wasn't wearing my shirt. I rubbed myself to warm up a little and headed towards the door. "Who is it?" I asked.

"It's me Storm. Lucas."

I pulled the door open hurriedly and gasped at Lucas in surprise. There he stood wet and drenched from standing in the rain. He stood there looking at me with those beautiful eyes and smiled timidly. I couldn't believe he was standing in front of me in the rain, 3am in the morning. He obviously didn't listen to what I said and go back to camp. "What are you doing here? How did you get here?"

I waited for Lucas to reply but he didn't. He looked to the side and motioned for someone to come over. Rain was pouring down so hard that it was difficult to hear anything. I waited for this mysterious guest to appear when a figure stepped into the doorway standing next to Lucas.

"Hi Storm."

"Marcel." I said in surprise. "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Well, I got a bit of a distress call tonight from Mr. Sheridan here. So I 'borrowed' the folks Wrangler and went to get him. I think you guys need to sort some things out. I'll see you later Storm." Marcel said turning to walk away.

"No wait Marcel." I said grabbing his shoulder. "Lucas, I just wanna..."

"I know, I'll wait inside." Lucas said heading into the house.

Marcel turned to look at me but kept his eyes elsewhere. We were both standing outside now and getting soaked. I moved us under the overhang so we wouldn't get wet. "Thank you, Marcel."

"Anything for you Storm. I know you think I'm drifting away but I'm not. You are. I don't want you to. I need you in my life, as my best friend, as my brother, whatever. Just don't go pushing me away again or I'll kick your ass."

"You can't kick my ass." I said smiling.

"Yeah I can."

"No you can't."

"Yeah I can."

"Yeah you can."

"No I can't."

"You're damn straight you can't." I said grinning.

Marcel grinned back at me hitting himself on the head for letting me trick him. "Ok ok, you win. Are we cool now?"

"We're cool." I said smiling. "I just had to pull my head out of my ass. Thank you for being such a great friend Marcel."

"Could I be any better? I don't think so. Forget the rest, Marcel's the best."

"Yeah mate. You're the best." I said smiling broadly. "Anyone you consider a friend is extremely lucky. I'm getting all mushy now. I love you man. Are we still on for next week? You know I'm only having a party because it's with you. We can't break tradition man."

"Wait a minute. Have you ever actually told me you loved me, face to face. This is a miracle."

"Yeah I have. Don't say that, you're making me feel bad. I can only say I love you to a few people. You're one of them. I don't say it easily but once I feel it for someone you'll get pissed off at how much I say it to you. WAIT A MINUTE!!! I have said I love you. Lots of times."

"I know, I just wanted you to feel mushy for me." Marcel grinned. "I love you too. And I'm glad we sorted this out before the birthday party. It's our 16th man!! This is gonna rock! Anyway I better leave you two lovebirds alone."

"Thank you Marcel. Thank you for doing this." I pulled Marcel close to me and hugged him tightly. We rubbed each others back and I felt warm and happy that we'd come back together again. I pulled his head back and kissed him gently, then hugged him tight again.

Marcel pulled away but kept his hands on my sides "You two sort this out ok. I want you two to be happy. So pull your head out of your ass for him too."

"Ok I will. Bye Marcel."

Marcel walked off and turned around when he got to his car. "Later Bro!" He grinned getting in and driving away.

I waved back and turned around to go back inside the house. Time to face the music. I felt like I was about to get my ass kicked or be told off. Still that's what happens when you're an idiot right. I stepped inside and saw Lucas standing there nervously. I closed the door behind me gently, leaning my head against it and taking a few deep breaths. Here we go, round two. I turned back to face Lucas and wanted to say something but I couldn't. I just looked in his eyes and felt my heart sink.

"Ok. Yell." I said bracing myself.

"I don’t want to."

"Yeah you do."

"I did want to before. But now I just want you."

Lucas began to say something but I put my finger to his lips and halted him. I tried to say something but I couldn't get the words out, I was too choked up. I took a few deep breaths trying to control my sobs. "Lucas...I'm so sorry. You came back. You came back for me. How could I ever get someone who loves me enough to do that. You are so special Lucas. I don't know what to say..."

"Storm. I'm sorry, I couldn't stay away. I missed you baby. I've been hurting for you so much. I love you. I love you so much. Why won't you be with me? Why aren't I good enough for you to fight for?" Lucas sobbed.

I couldn't bear to hear Lucas say that he's not good enough. That just set me off. I couldn't believe Lucas thought he wasn't good enough. Had I hurt him so bad that he thinks less of himself? I couldn't say anything because I was crying so much. I couldn't believe Lucas thought that. I leaned my head into him sobbing continuously and pulled him close so I could feel him near me. Every time I tried to say something I'd just sob again. I felt the hurt that I had put Lucas through just by that one little statement. His face was leaning on my shoulder and he was crying hard. I never ever felt so terrible before. I pulled his face up so I could look in his eyes. "Lucas...don't you ever say you're not good enough. You and I both know how good you are."

"Then why didn't you fight to save us? Why didn't you care enough to want me? Do you know how much it hurt to see the person you love more than anything in the world, the person you'd die for, give up on you and walk away without ever coming back."

I gasped in horror and shock at what I'd done to him. I couldn't even breathe properly. I stumbled backwards till I reached the wall and not once taking my eyes off Lucas, I just wanted to die. "I'm sorry." I cried, sliding down the wall.

I buried my head in my hands and hid myself from the world. I sobbed out loud and uncontrollably. My heart just feeling empty and cold. I never cried so hard before.

"No no don't do this Storm. Please don't break down on me. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you. Please stop crying, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. You've been through enough hell already. Please Storm." Lucas said in a panic.

He sat down next to me and tried to comfort me but I wouldn't let him. I sat there staring at the floor not responding to him. Shaking and sobbing, unable to gain my composure. "" I sobbed shaking. "I don't deserve you."

"Yes you do. Yes you do. Please don't say that. Please don't cry Storm. We deserve each other, we belong together. Storm, I can't be with anyone else. I don't want to be. I want you. I want you." he said trying to raise my face up.

I turned away from him and leaned my head on my knees. I shook heavily with deep breaths my only way to steady myself. I rocked myself gently, trying to lull myself with the rocking motion. I wanted to just hide myself from the world. Crawl into a safe little shell and never come out.

"Damnit Storm. Stop it. Now. Look at me." Lucas said firmly. "I said look at me."

"Shut up." I mumbled.

"Fine. Be that way." Lucas said getting up.

"Ok." I replied quietly, still rocking myself gently.

"It's like talking to a fucking brick wall. You're never going to budge are you."

I looked up at Lucas, my eyes defeated and sad. "No." I nodded painfully.

"Storm. Stand up. Now."

I eased my back against the wall and slid up it slowly. I kept my eyes fixed on the ground as I stood there like an obedient dog. Still, I didn't have the spirit left in me anymore.

"Look into my eyes and tell me you don't love me. And I'll walk out that door and never come back. If that's what you really want, I'll give it to you."

I knew it was the right thing for me to say. Tell him you don't love him and set him free. But I couldn't. I loved him too much. I knew I'd lose him forever. And all of a sudden that seemed an awfully long time. "I...I can't."

"Then fight for me. Fight for us."


"You have to work that out yourself. But this might help." Lucas said pulling out the dolphin necklace he gave me.

I leaned my head forward as Lucas put it gently back around my neck, where it belonged. I felt like a missing part of me had been restored. This was my connection to Lucas. I grabbed Lucas' hand as he finished and looked at the matching ring closely. "These mean we're connected don't they?" I gulped.


I looked at the ring and felt Lucas hand, a new determination instilled in me. "I'll fight for you Lucas. I'll fight for us. I want us to be together again. I always wanted it. I just thought I was doing the right thing. But it wasn't the right thing. I should have stayed and tried to work this out with you."

Lucas put his hands on my arms and gripped them tightly "YES! Storm, relationships are going to have their ups and downs. A test of how strong they are is their ability to work through these ups and downs. You can't just give up at the first sign of trouble."

"I know that now. I should have tried. I'm sorry. But don't think it's because I don't love you. I will always love you. Ok. Lucas I am sorry for pushing you that day. And yelling at you. And for hurting you. Every piece of me hated myself for what I did. I promise you I will never ever do that again. The question is: Will you forgive me?"

"YES! Now it's my turn. Will you forgive me for telling Josh about us? I never meant to hurt you. I'd hurt myself before seeing you get hurt."

"I forgive you. And I know you'd never intentionally hurt me. But you have to know Lucas, you can't just tell everyone. The world isn't ready for us. People will try and hurt you."

"I know. I know. I'm sorry. I just can't help it. I get so happy inside because I have you and I just want to shout it out to the world."

"I know, I know. I'm the same. Sometimes you get an attack of the warm fuzzies and they make you wanna open up your mouth and say 'I LOVE LUCAS!!' aye?" I said smiling.

"That's the one Dude. Blame it on the warm fuzzies." Lucas smiled.

"You know, you were pretty harsh."

"I'm sorry for being so harsh, but you needed it. Or you would never have let me in. I needed to get in to help you. But you're such a stubborn shit you won't let anyone in. But I'm not ever letting you close yourself off from me again. From now on, when you hurt, I hurt. When you cry, I cry. And when you smile, I smile."

"Umm so does that mean we're back together now?" I asked sheepishly.

"You may have let me go, but I never ever let you go. As far as I'm concerned we never broke up. We just had a long rough patch."

"Am I allowed to kiss you?"

"Would you stop fucking asking. Take it, it's yours."

I put my hands up to Lucas face, feeling that beautiful soft skin I'd been missing. I leaned forward and pulled him closer to me. Our lips touching once again for the first time in nearly a week. I angel kissed him tenderly, tasting his strawberry lips that had me hooked. We kissed tentatively and nervously at first. It had been a while and we both weren't sure of how to go. Eventually I just let go of my cautious inhibition and let loose on Lucas. Kissing him passionately and slipping my tongue through his lush lips. I pulled him closer to me and wrapped my arms around him. The embrace feeling ever more familiar by the second. Eventually we ran out of breath and had to take a break. "I missed my strawberry fix." I said smiling.

Lucas leaned his head against mine still breathing heavily. "Dude. You don't know how much I missed my baby. I can't go a day without a piece of my Storm. I want to nail home a few points though..."

"What is it?"

Lucas pressed his body against mine tightly. He took off his jersey and shirt and threw them on the floor, pressing his chest against mine. The feel of his skin and warmth driving me crazy. Our nipples teasing each other tauntingly. I couldn't bear it anymore and sprung a woody. I could tell he had one too because they were both pressing hard against one another through the clothing. "Oh fuck I'm getting horny man."

Lucas angel kissed me while he took my hands and moved them up his back. My fingers tracing as much skin as possible. "Can you feel that? Well that's yours. It belongs to you."

Then he moved my hands down slowly. Further and further, till we reached the top of his boxers. I gasped and gulped for breath. Getting hotter and hotter every minute. He slid my hands down underneath his boxers, resting my fingers and hands on his smooth, soft cheeks. "Can you feel that? Well that's yours too. It belongs to you."

Lucas then moved my hands around towards the front of his boxers. I couldn't believe what my fingers were feeling. They brushed past his pubes till my fingertips touched his manhood teasingly. He wrapped my hand around it and my heart almost stopped. It was so hot, and really hard. And big too. I had never felt another guys thing before. So this was a pretty new experience. It was so warm and I actually liked having my hand wrapped around it because it felt nice. It was so hard though. Lucas didn't move, he just watched me and teased me with his heavy breathing and subtle movements. "Can you feel all of that? Well that's yours as well. It belongs to you."

"I...I...don't know what to say." I said gulping.

Lucas leaned in closer to me and held me tightly. I moved my arms around to hold him close to me and I leant my head on his shoulder. Burying my face in his neck. "Don't you get it Storm. I belong to you. Everything you can touch is yours. Everything you can feel is yours. Everything you can see is yours. Everything I yours."

"Oh my god." I gasped. " just kill me man. I'm skipping a few beats here. You make me feel so special, like a king."

"That's because you are. You're my king."

"Lucas..." I said nervously.

"Yes my love?"

"I want to make love with you..."

"Aye?" Lucas squeaked in surprise.

"I want to make love to you. I'm ready." I said kissing Lucas gently.

"Are you sure?" Lucas said leaning his head against mine and using his eyes to peer into my soul.

"Never been so sure in my life." I sighed. "It just feels right, at this moment. I want to make love to you. I want to share myself with you. I want to be with you."

"I want you so bad." Lucas gasped. "I want you more than anything in the world. But...we can't."

"I want you too." I whined. "Why can't we make love? I want you. Are you punishing me?"

"I'm not punishing you. But I don't want you to wake up in the morning and regret it. I know you want the first time to be special. I do too. That's why I want us to wait. At least until you turn 16."

"Yup. You're punishing me." I said sliding back down the wall.

"Ok then, come on. Right now." Lucas said beginning to take off the rest of his clothes. I thought about how many times I'd seen this strip show before. And it made me realize, I could wait a few more if I had to. Just as Lucas had thrown off his socks and was about to go for his boxers I pulled him down next to me.

"No no. I'm sorry." I said laughing a little.

"What's so funny?" Lucas asked bewildered.

"You are. You were going to give in just to make me happy."

"I'll give you anything Storm. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G."

I brought Lucas' hand to my lips and kissed it gently. We locked our fingers together and sat there looking out the window. Both leaning against the wall, sitting on the floor wearing nothing but our boxers. I moved over and sat myself in Lucas lap, curling into a ball. Lucas held me in his arms, caressing me gently. I couldn't help smiling, I felt so lucky. I gently nuzzled into his neck and kissed it gently. "I can wait forever if that's how long it takes."

"I sure hope not Dude. I was planning on a few weeks wait at most. More than that and I don't think I'd survive."

"That's good. Because I can't wait to run my fingers all over your body..." I said tracing my index finger down his chest slowly. "And then taste every single piece of you." I ran my lips down his neck slowly and then down his chest. I teased his nipple with my tongue before I sucked on it gently.

Lucas gasped "Storm. Oh man you're making this really hard. How am I supposed to be able to wait if you keep doing those things to me."

I pulled my lips off and looked up at Lucas, grinning wildly. "Uhh lemme think. You DON'T wait. But fine, you have it your way. No more nookie till Stormy gets his booty."

"You are cruel Dude. But you'll thank me later on. I'm going to have to go home and relieve myself you know."

"You know I only do it because I love you. Nobody else gets the Storm treatment. I've missed teasing you like this."

"I bet you have." Lucas laughed. "You know I'm not even tired. I could just sit here all night holding you."

"Well I wish I could. But you realize we've been here for over an hour. I have to get ready to go to work soon."


"Yeah I’ve been working down at the Produce Warehouse. Have to be there by 5am."

"Shit it's nearly 4.30am already."

"I know, I know. I'm getting my hours cut next week, orders of Mom. Don't fuck with Mom you know."

"I don't want you to go. I want you to stay with me. We only just got back together. I haven't seen you for nearly a week. Please don't go."

"I know what. You weren't going to go to school today anyway right? So you go sleep in my bed. And then when I finish work I'll come home and we can spend the day together. Just you and I."


"I promise."

"That's all I needed to hear." Lucas said sweeping me up into his arms and carrying me over the threshold.

"What are you doing?"

"Well you know you need to shower up before you go. I'm just giving you a free ride upstairs. And since you work so hard, I think I should help wash you. You need to save your strength for work big boy."

"Well then, hurry up. I don't have all day." I said grinning.

* * * * * * *

That was by far the biggest chapter yet.   I got a lot of requests to post the next chapter on nifty so after almost two years I decided to do it.  I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you.

Stay Tuned for Chapter 11 and send me a note to let me know what you thought of Chapter 10
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